Moritz Grossmann is one of the oldest and youngest players on the Glashütte block. When we say ‘oldest’, we are referring to the fact that Moritz Grossmann was one of the founding fathers of Glashütte’s proud Saxon watchmaking tradition. And ‘youngest’ refers to the acquisition of the brand name in 2008 by watchmaker Christine Hutter. Since then, this niche brand, with production figures of around 300 watches a year, has earned a reputation for its handcrafted finishings. Although comparisons to A. Lange & Söhne are inevitable and welcome, the brand has forged its own identity with 15 calibres and a commitment to Schönstes deutsches Handwerk (the most beautiful German craftsmanship). The Tremblage model with its gorgeous hand-engraved dial was unveiled in 2021 to mark the brand’s 13th anniversary. Using the decorative technique of tremblage, each dial of the anniversary watch is a unique work of art.
The operative words at Moritz Grossmann are understatement and refinement, and the Tremblage does justice to both. Framed by a 41mm steel or rose gold model from the Benu collection, the star of the show is this fascinating dial, perhaps one of the most beautiful tremblage dials available on the market today. The art of tremblage, which comes from the French word tremblant for shaking or trembling, is a historical decorative technique that requires years of training and is practised by very few artisans.
Using a German silver base, a master engraver uses a range of burins to create small incisions on the surface. The difficulty lies in that the incisions have to be homogenous. To achieve a uniform texture, the pressure applied has to be consistent throughout. If the incision is too deep, the dial is scrapped. By moving the burin back and forth and from right to left, Moritz Grossmann’s engravers achieve the spectacular glistening scenery on the dial. And since the dial is German silver (aka nickel silver or Maillechort), an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc, the silvery hue will patinate over time and become even warmer. And what is certainly worth underlining about this dial is that it doesn’t sparkle – it glistens subtly eliminating any potential for bling.
What is just as remarkable is that the engraver is not working on a flat German silver base. Although it looks as though the numerals, logo, railway minutes and seconds tracks have been applied on top of the granulated background, they are actually in relief. This means that they have been carved in relief into the German silver base before the engraver can start working on the tremblage. Once the tremblage is complete, the elements in relief are polished by hand to contrast with the matte background. It’s these kinds of details, which might not be evident at first glance, that make this watch so appealing.
But there is more. The slender hands for the hours, minutes and seconds are just stunning. Made in-house by Moritz Grossmann and a hallmark feature of the brand, the lance-shaped blued steel hands on this steel model are whittled down to their minimum expression with diamond files and chamfering. The needle-sharp tip of the minutes hand reaches all the way out to the perimeter and alights perfectly on the track, another subtle detail that illustrates the attention to detail and refined finishings of this watch.
The case, which has a diameter of 41m and a height of 11.35mm, is available in rose gold or stainless steel and polished throughout. The small pusher on the caseband forms part of the crown-and-pusher mechanism. Like conventional manual-winding watches, the crown is used to wind the watch. However, if the crown is pulled out to set the time, it automatically springs back to its original position activating the stop-seconds mechanism to allow precision time setting. Once the time is set to the exact hour, minute and second, the conical pusher on the baseband is pressed. The pusher reactivates the movement and resets the crown to winding mode. The reasons behind this ingenious and extremely easy-to-use safety mechanism are to avoid dust entering the case via the crown, to minimise wear and tear on the keyless works, and to prevent moving the hands unintentionally when pushing the crown back into place.
A beautiful blend of old and new, Moritz Grossmann’s hand-wound calibre 100.1 is equipped with a newly configured oscillator and reveals the elaborate hand finishings of the components. Fitted with an in-house Grossmann balance with variable inertia, poising screws and a Nivarox balance spring, the 14.2mm balance has a slow frequency of 18,000 semi-oscillations per hour. Another distinctive feature is the use of white sapphire jewels instead of standard rubies. Fully wound, calibre 100.1 delivers 42 hours of power.
Inspired by the architecture of Glashütte pocket chronometers, the movement consists of a mainplate and a 2/3 plate separated by two posts and a barrel bridge. Certain features of the pillar movement, like the 2/3 plate and pillars, are made of untreated German silver. The hand-finishings are nothing short of spectacular: raised gold chatons with white sapphires; annealed brown-violet screws and bevelled edges; engraved floral motifs on the balance and escape wheel cock and three-band snailing on the ratchet. The classic 2/3 plate is also hand-engraved in a historical cursive script with M. Grossmann’s signature and the individual movement number.
Given the profusion of handcrafted details, it is fair to say that the Tremblage is a unique work of art to pore over and enjoy with a loupe. The hand-engraved matte granulated surface, the brightly polished details carved in relief and the decorative finishings on the movement all point to the brand’s devotion to Schönstes deutsches Handwerk. A beauty.
Availability & Price
The Moritz Grossmann Anniversary Tremblage stainless steel, reference MG-003327, retails for EUR 31,000 (excl. VAT).
More information at Moritz Grossmann.com.